Here’s a few good spots to launch your own kayak, paddleboard or canoe Downtown Milwaukee. For a complete list, please visit the Milwaukee Urban Water Trail Map located on the Milwaukee Riverkeeper website.
MKC Main Location @ Jerry’s Docks:
Our main location in Jerry’s Docks/Harbor Yards, where we’ve been since we opened, is located on private property which doesn’t allow us to launch personal watercraft. We are all about safety however, and would never separate one person from another or a couple people from a group of people renting kayaks from us. If you would like to launch your own watercraft with your paddling partner or group of people renting from us, please call or send us a text and we will make a note in their reservation that someone will be launching their own kayak/paddleboard. It helps with communication on all levels, thanks!
MKC @ Schlitz Park location:
Our additional weekend location at Schlitz Park is a public launch and you can launch from our dock or from their new dock (just upriver, very close to our dock) located near The Tapyard, which is a larger and longer dock providing more space.
MKC @ Twisted Fisherman location:
Twisted Fisherman installed a new kayak launch this season. It is not a public launch but if you are a guest of the restaurant, you can launch your kayak. Similar to our main location – if you would like to launch your own and have a person renting from us or a group of people renting from us, please let us know and we will make a note in their reservation that someone will be launching their own kayak. It helps with communication on all levels, thanks!
Below is a list of many nice public launches. The first four listed are close to our main location. The Kiwanis Boat Launch is closer to our Schlitz Park location. For a complete list, please visit the Milwaukee Urban Water Trail Map located on the Milwaukee Riverkeeper website.
Marine Terminal Lofts – Milwaukee River across from our main location
(closed until early September 2023 due to the Milwaukee River Remediation Project)
Directly across from our main location dock on the corner of Erie and the Broadway Street Bridge. Park on the street, walk to the river and look down. You’ll see a dock and a small black kayak launch. Sometimes the gate is locked and sometimes the kayak launch has been removed so please don’t count on this launch but know that it’s there.
Between Hansen’s Landing & Harbor Point Condos – Milwaukee River across and just downriver from MKC
This is a good and close option. It’s located just downriver and across from our main location. This public dock is between Hansen’s Landing and Harbor Point Condos in the Third Ward on Erie Street. Parking is available on the street. This dock is very convenient and is a nice low dock with public access. The closest intersection is E. Polk Street and E. Erie Street – walk down to the river, between the buildings and you’ll see the public launch.
Riverfront Boat Launch – Milwaukee River/Milwaukee Harbor
The Riverfront Boat Launch at the end of Bruce Street is a few blocks down river from our main location, directly in line with the Hoan Bridge. There may be a fee to launch from this spot. Please note that this launch can get busy with motorized boats, especially on the weekends. Closest intersection is Bruce Street and South Water Street. Address: 600 S. Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Harbor View Plaza – Milwaukee Harbor
Located at the east end of Greenfield Avenue in front of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. Kayak friendly dock, just make sure you’re prepared for the weather as it is located in the inner harbor which can be very windy and choppy at times.
Emmber Lane – Menomonee River
The Emmber Lane kayak launch on the Menomonee River is a great place to launch your kayak or canoe. The launch is very close to Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful‘s office. Closest intersection is Emmber Lane and Mt. Vernon Avenue on the Menomonee River – launch is on the northwest corner of the bridge.
Kiwanis Landing Boat Launch – Milwaukee River
One of the best places to launch your kayak or canoe is the new Kiwanis Landing Boat Launch near the River Revitalization Foundation offices located on the Milwaukee River near the Humboldt Street bridge. This is very close to the old North Avenue dam. Closest intersection is Humboldt Avenue and Riverboat Road.
Pere Marquette Park – Milwaukee River
Pere Marquette has a public dock located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. Due to the lower water levels, this dock may be harder for some people. You will have to park, unload your kayak and then find a parking spot on the street. There are parking structures close by too. This launch is located off N. Old World 3rd Street between W. Kilbourn Avenue and W. State Street by the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Address: 900 N. Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203
Hope this helps! Please call or text with any questions. – Beth @ MKC